In today’s edition of Monday Q&A, Christin has a question about buying a kid-friendly couch.
Here’s what she said:
Hi, Kristen! About four years ago, I wrote you in a panic about whether or not it was ok to start a family while still paying off debt. You were so gracious with your answer, and…..two precious girls later, we’re still not quite debt-free, but we are very happy and grateful for our little family! Thank you for the hand you had in that and for your encouragement and practical advice.
My question now is much less ethereal than “how do we plan our family”–thankfully! The fake leather on our living room set has started to crack and peel. We’ve been covering up the cushions with blankets, but that will only last so long. Like you, we would love to only buy quality pieces that could, hopefully, be antiques someday. However, we move frequently and will likely have several more cross-country moves over the next 5-10 years.
During these moves, there are inevitable scrapes, scratches, and dings to our furniture, and we don’t want to invest a ton of money into something that will likely be damaged. On the other hand, we don’t want to buy something very cheap that is practically guaranteed to break the first time a toddler jumps on it!
We need something that is durable against the wear and tear of kids and pets. Do you have any thought or recommendations as to how to purchase furniture for someone in our situation? Also, I like the idea of buying secondhand but am worried about bedbugs and other icky things….am I crazy? Thanks for any thoughts you may have on this!
Aww, I’m so glad that my answer was helpful to you and your husband! I think this might be the first time someone told me they decided to have kids based on my advice.
I understand your concerns about second-hand upholstered furniture. I’d feel the same way about second-hand furniture unless it was leather. I just don’t know that I’d ever feel like I could get plush upholstered furniture clean enough to make me feel good (unless I’d bought it from a family member or friend and I knew how it had been treated.)
So, maybe look to see what (real) leather options are out there on craigslist. You might be able to save a lot of money that way.
If you want to buy new, I’ve got to give a big thumbs up to Ikea’s leather couches. We saved up and bought ours back in 2009 and they’re still holding up well 7 years later.
(Which is far more than I can say for our original La-Z-Boy furniture.)
The leather doesn’t peel or flake like faux leather does, and I feel optimistic about the chances of this furniture lasting us for a great number of years.
The only problem we’ve had is that the middle cushion in the couch is getting a little compressed. But I feel fairly confident that I could restuff it and return it to its former glory. I just need to get around to it.
We bought the leather version of the Ektorp, which is sadly no longer available. We also bought a black leather Ikea sofa to replace our horribly uncomfortable futon, but that one doesn’t seem to be available either.
However, based on our experience with Ikea’s leather couches, I’d be pretty prone to buying one if I were you.
Another option could be Ikea’s fabric-covered Ektorp line. The covers for these sofas are all machine-washable, so even though they’re not leather, they might be somewhat simple to keep clean.
And Ektorp does come in some darker colors, which would probably be lower maintenance than the super-popular white that you see on design blogs.
So. Definitely avoid faux leather, maybe consider buying second-hand leather furniture, and consider Ikea’s Ektorp line.
Readers, what advice would you give Christin? Hopefully you can round out my thoughts with some less Ikea-centric ideas!
P.S. Here’s the original post about our living room furniture savings project, with photos of our living room in its original green-carpeted state.
P.P.S. Joshua and I posted our black and white landscapes this week.